Another year of new music has passed us by once again. Its been 12 months full of memorable hits and some notable covers from icons in the music industry. From pop and rock to rap and indie, 2014 has seen all genres shine and so its time to look back at the year’s finest singles.
Join us as Renowned For Sound’s editor takes a look back over the year that was 2014, tipping his hat to the Top 20 singles that have formed the soundtrack to his year.
20. Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza
Me and Liza served American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright as the lead single for the musicians recent Best Of collection, Vibrate. The track is about Wainwrights relationship with music icon Liza Minnelli who was reportedly upset with Wainwright following his on stage recreation of her mothers (Judy Garland’s) concert LP Judy at Carnegie Hall back in 2006. This tribute single I’m sure will have made it all better and is a classic Wainwright hit that follows in the footsteps of some of the stars biggest career singles quite nicely.
19. Lily Allen – Air Balloon
In 2014 Lily Allen made a welcome return to music after several years out of the spotlight. Her return was a controversial one with the first single from parent record Sheezus coming in the shape of the Hard Out Here. Soon after Allen delivered this up-tempo pop nugget which I think is the highlight of the singers latest record by far.
18. Vance Joy – Riptide
Riptide is definitely one of the biggest songs to emerge this year. The song was all over TV and commercials and made a star out of its Australian creator, Vance Joy. Its a lyrically eclectic summer-drenched hit that has all the ingredients of an international hit single. The video is also rather brilliant! Whoever the female stalker is who “sang the words wrong” – give her an Oscar right now! She is just awesome.
17. Royksopp and Robyn – Do It Again
A collaboration between Norwegian electronic dance duo Royksopp and Swedish pop powerhouse Robyn was always going to fair well with music lovers of both acts. The powerful Do It Again duet was offered as the lead single from an EP package of the same name earlier this year which consisted of songs that the two acts had recorded together. The track is flavoursome and energetic and has produced a handful of pretty awesome remixes too following the singles release.
16. Iggy Azalea – Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX)
Rap usually isn’t my thing and I don’t claim to be a huge Iggy Azalea fan but the breakthrough artist has done rather well for herself over the last year, pairing up with some of music’s biggest acts like Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande. Her standout collaboration however is with Charli XCX on this catchy track. Another brilliant video accompanies Fancy with the musicians paying homage to cult 90’s film classic, Clueless.
15. Lana Del Rey – West Coast
After hitting the jackpot with her mainstream debut album Born To Die in 2012 and an extended follow-up edition at the end of that year, Lana Del Rey returned with another overflowing bag full of Americana drenched torch songs with the release of Ultraviolence. West Coast ushered in the new record and the track carries that impeccable, signature sound that has made Del Rey an international superstar over the past few years. With just the right dosage of meloncholia; some haunting vocals and a standout production, West Coast welcomed the single back into the worlds open arms.
14. B*Witched – The Stars Are Ours
With many pop acts from the 90’s reemerging over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before Ireland’s sprightly foursome, B*witched, would find their way back into the limelight. The group reunited as part of the The Big Reunion and the once-denim-donning group released their first new material in the shape of this years fantastic comeback EP, Champagne or Guinness which got our 5 star review treatment. The lead single from that EP is this wonderful hit which has the groups signature sparkle all over it as well as a modern twist on the groups heavy Irish influence.
13. Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Paloma features twice on out Best Singles of 2014 list and for good reason. This is a fine example of impeccable songwriting when it comes to balladry. Its a perfect follow up to the albums lead and former single Can’t Rely On You and while the lead single carried an uptempo melody and improvised sounding structure, the success of Only Love Can Hurt Like This lies within the richness of Faith’s vocal delivery, the cinematic feel of the song and the immaculate production of the number.
12. George Michael – Going To A Town
To have an icon cover one of your songs must be one of the biggest forms of flattery in the music industry. That’s the gift that American musician Rufus Wainwright was presented with when the legendary George Michael took his song on the road during his 2011/12 Symphonica Tour. Putting an orchestra into the mix gives this song such a vibrant, cinematic feel and is the perfect fit to Michael’s flawless vocals. I was lucky enough to see the Symphonica tour twice at London’s Royal Albert Hall and this song was definitely one of the tracks that stood out for me within the set list so I was extra excited to hear that he was going to release the track as an official single for the stars latest musical project. As far as covers go – you can’t ask for more than this.
11. V V Brown – Faith (Feat. Kele Okereke)
V V’s 2013 ‘comeback’ release provided the singer and her fans with a very dark and eccentric collection. Once known for her uptempo and bouncy pop hits like Shark In The Water, Samson & Delilah was a contrasting release that was absolutely mind-blowing. So mindblowing in fact that we named it 2013’s Album of the Year here at Renowned For Sound. Faith is the ballad centerpiece of the album and followed previous singles Samson and The Apple. The track is a gorgeous duet with Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke.
10. Rumer – Dangerous
Widely compared to 70’s singing icon Karen Carpenter, Rumer has been developing her own style over the past few years and in the process she has delivered 3 rather spectacular studio albums with Seasons of my Soul, Boys Don’t Cry and her recently released 3rd LP, Into Colour. Dangerous is the lead single from the new album and is a lot more upbeat than we were expecting or that we are used to from the whispery tones of Rumer. While it’s upbeat, the lyrics are still very Rumer; bittersweet and melancholic.
9. OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
Before OneRepublic released their latest album Native, I counldn’t really say that I regarded myself as a fan of the bands work. They were sort of a band that just slipped through the net for me. That all changed when I caught the lads perform tracks from Native in 2013 and since then I have been playing this record almost every day. Love Runs Out is one of the bands latest hits and it comes from the repackaged version of Native but fits in so perfectly to the rest of the album that it feels wrong to not have included it in the first place. Its got a catchy piano backbone and a melody that just plants itself in your head as soon as you hear it. You just want to clap along with these guys as they tear through the track.
8. Cheryl – I Don’t Care
This full throttle anthem recently scored Cheryl with her 5th #1 single on the UK charts and is one hell of a track! Its message is about not caring about the rumors or the stories that are said about the singer and basically, just living life to its fullest. Not a bad motto to live by really. Its got the signature Cheryl stamp all over it and has also lent itself very well to remixers who I’m sure lined themselves up to be part of the party. Its great to have Cheryl back on the scene and with a release as fantastic as this.
7. Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue
While Kylie’s latest Kiss Me Once album release proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, it’s lead single Into The Blue was a storming pop hit that declared the return of the princess of pop. Kylie answered the wishes of her fans by releasing one of the most energetic and club-worthy hits of her recent recording years. With spacey effects erupting behind the hooky heavy melody and clean-cut production, the track is the highlight of Kiss Me Once and rings with Kylie camp-ness.
6. Haerts – Giving Up
Haerts first came to our attention in 2013 with a brief EP called Hemiplegia. Since then the band have quickly become one of the most promising and most interesting collectives in music with the release of their self-titled debut studio album being unveiled in November of this year. Giving Up serves the collection as its lead single and flows in a similar vein to tracks like Wings and All The Days which were released from the 2013 EP but also feature on the new LP. The track is a powerful electro-indie monster with infectious hooks and soaring vocals that sound slightly reminiscent of Lissie and Fleetwood Mac and a crisp production that has been delivered by fellow Brooklyn synthpop act St Lucia.
5. Lady Gaga – G.U.Y
After the release of Applause and Do What U Want from her latest Artpop release, Mother Monster released this uptempo pop juggernaut and while it recieved a mixed response from most, we just loved it. The track contains many different genres like EDM and House but at the end of the day we just want to dance and Gaga has given us a track for doing just that. The songs grinding bass and Gaga’s powerful vocals make this one of the staples that holds the Artpop record together and was the perfect choice for a single release.
4. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
It’s been an exceptional year for Paloma Faith! She has been getting rave reviews for her latest tour and the record that the eccentric musician is supporting, A Perfect Contradiction, has become her most successful release to date. It’s not entirely surprising though, is it? If you are going to release singles of such high caliber as Only Love Can Hurt Like This and Can’t Rely On You, chances are you are going to hit the musical jackpot. Can’t Rely On You was the first track to emerge from A Perfect Contradiction as was really different to her previous single releases. The track is a funk-fueled, soul-drenched hit that showcases Paloma’s skilled vocals and versatility as a singer and performer. Superb!
3. Lights – Up We Go
You want a fun-fueled synth-pop track that is energetic and uplifting? Well, look no further because Up We Go is one of the brightest singles that you will find this year. The track is from Canadian singer-songwriter Lights who first came to our attention a few years back with the release of her debut album The Listening. Since then she has produced string of singles, a sophomore record in the form of Siberia and has recently unveiled album number 3, Little Machines. Up We Go is the lead single from her latest studio effort and is by far one of the finest moments of her career to date.
2. Tori Amos – Troubles Lament
Regarded as one of the greatest musicians and songwriters in music, Tori Amos has been going strong for over 20 years, producing dozens of hit singles and critically acclaimed albums to an enormous fan-base around the world. The icons pennings are known for carrying strong themes and are as mind-blowingly intricate as a song is ever going to get. Troubles Lament is no exception to that. The track is the lead single from Amos’ recent studio album release, Unrepentant Geraldines which was released earlier in 2014 and carries a strong Americana influence and a chilling piano-driven instrumentation.
1. Say Lou Lou – Everything We Touch
For a very long time Say Lou Lou have appeared on the lists of countless Ones To Watch articles and for very good reason. The sister duo have been hard at work in the lead up to their debut album was is being released in February of 2015. Its been a long time coming but thankfully the pair have released regular singles and EP’s to keep the momentum at a peak including this track which is the best track of the year, hands down! The genre is dream pop and the track flows so beautifully with its minimalist verses and roaring synth-driven chorus’ that is as catchy as a hook is every going to get. The track gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it and if Everything We Touch is a hint to what we can expect on the forthcoming album, the next big superstar duo is about to be born and we cannot wait!